WYOMING — Metro Health — University of Michigan Health has been renamed to University of Michigan Health-West in what health system officials say is a “natural next step” that will help “fulfill our destiny.”
“It’s just the next step in terms of greater alignment and integration while keeping our identity local as well,” CEO Dr. Peter Hahn told MiBiz. “It really speaks to all that we’ve built with the university over the last five years with expanded programs and capabilities.”
The health system’s board unanimously approved the name change on June 8. It’s the latest chapter in the system’s 80-year history that began in 1942 as Grand Rapids Osteopathic Hospital.
Metro Health’s “biggest inflection point” came five years ago when it became part of the University of Michigan Health system, Hahn said.
He sees Metro Health maintaining its legacy despite the new name change, adding that the health system can “finally fulfill its true potential” by better clarifying its affiliation with the University of Michigan.
“We’re no longer the smaller system in the community,” he said. “We’re now part of one of the nation’s leading health care organizations. Patients can feel confident that the care they could get in Ann Arbor is the same they can get in West Michigan. And for truly specialized care, we can coordinate a seamless back and forth with Ann Arbor.”
Hahn added that University of Michigan Health-West will continue to “honor the legacy” of Metro Health, which was previously named Metropolitan Hospital from 1985 to 2005, with various signage and a “legacy wall” at the health system’s Wyoming hospital.
The transition is expected to take place over the next year. Hahn said the primary costs will involve changing physical signage, although “the benefits gained to the organization and the community will far outweigh that.”
In recent years, Metro Health has developed a comprehensive stroke center and received authorization from state officials to launch the Cardiovascular Network of West Michigan for open-heart surgery under a new partnership with Mercy Health.
The health system’s 208-bed hospital in Wyoming serves more than 250,000 patients a year. Metro Health, which has more than 500 staff physicians, also provides primary and specialty care services at 30 locations in West Michigan.
“As we have done at every stage in our history, we must ensure our name reflects our expanding capabilities,” Metro Health Board of Directors Chairperson Bill Barkeley said in a statement. “This is one of the most significant points in our trajectory. Our name should reflect this.”